Governors put off health care questions, for now

By Josh Lederman

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, July 15 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

The politics are tricky for governors weighing how to proceed. Just one-third of Americans supported the health care overhaul in Associated Press-GfK poll conducted in mid-June. But because federal tax dollars are covering the Medicaid expansion, states that opt out are essentially consigning their residents to subsidize coverage for those in other states.

Also, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Utah and other states that are still weighing their options were among those that sued the federal government in an attempt to have the law overturned. If they were so opposed then, the law's supporters ask, why are they leaving the door open to implementing it now?

Both the Medicaid expansion and the exchanges don't kick in until 2014, meaning states technically have some breathing room before they need to make a final decision. But governors who've agreed to take the expansion accused their more taciturn colleagues of playing election-year politics at the expense of taxpayers.

"It's not only irresponsible, it's disingenuous," Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said at a news conference organized by Democratic governors. "To say 'I'm going to criticize the plan, but I won't tell you whether I'm taking the loot until after the election,' that's what breeds cynicism in the American people."

Shumlin didn't back down even when reminded that some Democrats too are taking the wait-and-see approach, including Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

"I believe my comments should apply to every governor in the nation, on a bipartisan basis," Shumlin said.

Reach Josh Lederman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP

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